An Post Ras 2016 – stage 8

*****

Stage 8, Sunday May 29: Kildare to Skerries (148.4 kilometres):

ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage8

The final day of racing will be familiar to those who have competed in recent editions of the An Post Rás, travelling on many of the same roads prior to the crowd-thronged finale in Skerries.

It begins in Kildare and passes through Prosperous, Kilcock, Dunsany, Dunshaughlin, Ratoath and Curraha prior to the first of five category three climbs, that of Pluckhimin (km. 78.2). Coming after the village of Naul, the next climb, Cross of the Cage (km. 97.8), brings the riders onto the 13.8 kilometre finishing circuit and begins the final countdown to the crowning of the 2016 An Post Rás champion.


Following the first passage over the finish line (km. 106.2), the peloton will begin the first of three ascents of the Black Hills climb. These ascents come at kilometre 111, 124.9 and 138.8 and offer a last-gasp opportunity for aggressors to chase the stage win and overall honours.

—–

Stage8map

Good morning and welcome to the live coverage from the final stage of the 2016 An Post Ras.

12.05: 149 riders took the start on this, the final day of racing. It’s blazing sunshine, finishing off what has generally been a week of great weather.

12.10: There have been several attacks but nothing sticks.

Now Patrick Bosman (Austria Tirol Cycling Team), Jai Hindley (Australia National Team), Dylan Newbery (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team), Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Louis Carnec (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) try to get away.

12.15: They have been reeled in.

12.20: Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) now give it a shot.

12.22: They are hauled back. Now a new attack by Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform), Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles), Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) and Robin Kelly (Waterford Racing Club).

Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team) and Kieran Simcox (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) get across.

12.25: It’s all together.

Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) and Mick Fitzgerald (Cork Strata3/Velorevolution) give it a shot. Again, the bunch ain’t in a giving mood, and they are reeled in.

12.30: Now eight try – Scott Thomas (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team), George Fowler (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Joseph Evans (Britain Madison Genesis), Iloyd Chapman (Britain Pedal Heaven), Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke), Brian McArdle (Dublin Orwell Wheelers Scott) and Aaron O’Brien (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles).

Different move, same story: it doesn’t get far.

12.40: There is a lull in action, but we definitely don’t expect things to stay together.

12.44: That didn’t take long – six riders clip away. They are Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team), Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic), Joseph Breheny (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

12.47: This attack is making better progress – 12 seconds.

12.48: Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) is trying to bridge.

12.50: Joseph Breheny (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) was dropped by the break but he has latched onto the back of Potts.

12.52: Breheny was drooped again.

12.53: Potts is 10 seconds back with the main field at 25.

12.54: Potts is now 20 seconds back, while the bunch is now at 32.

12.55: Potts relents and waits. The bunch is now 45 seconds back.

12.59: Important – NPE Media, who have been doing the high;ights videos on the race, are going to trial alive Youtube broadcast today from 2pm. It will be here (click for link).

Of course, we will continue with the text updates so, combined, you’ll have loads of information.

13.05: 46.5 kilometres covered in the first hour of racing. No final day processions in this national Tour!

13.09: The gap is one minute.

13.10: The leaders pass the 50km board. They have 98.4 left ahead of them.

13.18: The break’s advantage continues to grow. It’s up to 1 minute 44 seconds now. They have done approximately 57 kilometres.

13.24: A reminder – there are five category three climbs today.

The first is Pluckhimin (km. 78.2) then, after the village of Naul, the Cross of the Cage (km. 97.8) brings the riders onto the 13.8 kilometre finishing circuit.

Following the first passage over the finish line (km. 106.2), the peloton will begin the first of three ascents of the Black Hills climb. These ascents come at kilometre 111, 124.9 and 138.8, and could well be used by the GC challengers and stage hunters to try to get clear.

13.28: The break is working well – now two minutes ten clear.

Today’s start was in a great location, Kildare Food Stores. Plenty of green fields and also a collection of animals like ostriches, goats, some Llama-type creatures, hens, turkeys and others. A mini-zoo, essentially.

13.35: It’s up to two minutes 40 seconds.

13.41: Those are a quick couple of phone shots from the start.

13.49: The leaders have crossed the climb of Pluckhimin (km. 78.2). The bunch then passed by the same point two minutes later.

The riders are inside the final 70 kilometres.

13.56: The results of that climb:

Category three climb of Pluckhimin (km. 78.2):

1, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 5 pts
2, Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) 4
3, Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team) 3
4, Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team) 2

Here’s a recap of the overall standings this morning:

General classification after seven stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 25 hours 3 mins 37 secs
2, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
3, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 19 secs
5, Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) at 58 secs
6, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 1 min 1 secs
7, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) at 1 min 2 secs
8, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) same time
9, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 1 min 4 secs
10, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 1 min 6 secs
11, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 1 min 7 secs
12, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 1 min 13 secs
13, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 1 min 25 secs
14, Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 1 min 29 secs
15, Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) at 1 min 34 secs

Points:

1, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 64 pts
2, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) 53
3, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 43
4, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) 40
5, Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team) 39

Mountains:

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 65
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) 40
3, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 35
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) 28
5, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 28

As you can see, McCrystal is third in the King of the Mountains. However even if he takes each of the five category three climbs, he will still be five points off the leader Holler.

13.57: The latest gap is one minute 37 seconds.

Here are the various other category standings:

Young rider:

1, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) 25 hours 3 mins 40 secs
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 10 secs
3, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 16 secs
4, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 1 min 22 secs
5, Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team) at 3 mins 32 secs

Irish county rider:

1, Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) 25 hours 14 mins 8 secs
2, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) at 4 mins 9 secs
3, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 6 mins 22 secs
4, Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 11 mins 39 secs
5, Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue) at 14 mins 20 secs

Cycling Ireland category 2:

1, Lewis Ferguson (Down North) 25 hours 29 mins 38 secs
2, Andrew Bye (Down Newry Wheelers) at 15 mins 24 secs
3, Lorcan Davoust (Dublin South) at 49 mins 25 secs
4, John Clarke (Meath Navan Avonmore) at 1 hour 31 mins 12 secs
5, Daragh Mortimer (Dublin South) at 1 hour 42 mins 27 secs

Team:

1, Australia national team, 75 hours 13 mins 30 secs
2, Netherlands Join-S De Rijke, at 2 mins 5 secs
3, Ireland An Post Chain Reaction, at 10 mins 18 secs
4, Ireland national team, at 14 mins 28 secs
5, Britain Madison Genesis, at 14 mins 33 secs

Irish county team:

1, Louth Asea Wheelworx, 76 hours 12 mins 30 secs
2, Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles, at 5 mins 33 secs
3, Cork Aquablue, at 10 mins 2 secs
4, Down North, at 13 mins 14 secs
5, Kerry, at 17 mins 21 secs

14.09: With 55 kilometres left the gap is down to 52 seconds…

14.12: The break rallies and is up to one minute 17 now.

14.15: We have nipped on to Skerries and will continue typing from there. The break is now one minute 15 ahead. Once they get to Skerries they will have three laps of a 13.9 kilometre finishing circuit.

14.33: Both the break and the bunch have passed the finish line now – gap was over a minute.

14.36: The latest gap is one minute ten seconds.

14.47: The five leaders are still away, still working well. Bryan McCrystal leads them through…

Two laps to go….

14.49: The An Post team are chasing hard. 53 seconds at the line…

14.51: The An Post team has won several times on this final stage and is aiming to do so again.

If Aaron Gate can do so, it would be his second stage win of the race and would secure his green jersey points classification victory. That in turn would equal his haul from last year.

14.56: The break is on the climb again. Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team) has been dropped, leaving Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic), Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) and Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) up there.

The bunch is now just 25 seconds back. It’s looking doubtful for the break….

15.00: Just 20 kilometres left in this race….

There’s a great crowd again in Skerries, and big blue skies..

15.02: They have pulled a little away – it’s up to 28 seconds now. Hard to see this working out, unfortunately, as the bunch is determined.

15.07: Conor Dunne led the break through for the bell – 33 seconds back to the bunch…

15.10: Anyone chances of dislodging Fankhauser for the overall are fading fast… Time is running out.

15.12: The break’s advantage ebbs again – 25 seconds… They are on the climb.

15.14: The bunch tore up that climb and the break has been caught… Great try by them.

Eddie Dunbar tried to get clear but his move was marked. It’s all together heading towards Skerries…

15.18: Six kilometres to go….the final countdown begins.

15.22: James Gullen has clipped away…inside the final two kilometres…

15.23: Inside the final kilometre…he’s got a tiny advantage…

15.24: He is caught…

Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) takes the sprint… his second stage of the week. Superb result, and so too for Clemens Fankhauser – he was surely in there too.

15.29: He was, and he wins – second win in three years for the Austrian.

Here’s the provisional top four:

1, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform)
2, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
3, Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
4, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)

15.31: Gate was 11 points ahead of Brochner in the points classification this morning…

Brocher takes 15 points today, but Gate nets 12 and thus holds green.

This will likely be the final GC – same as this morning.

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 25 hours 3 mins 37 secs
2, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
3, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 19 secs
5, Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) at 58 secs
6, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 1 min 1 secs

15.37: We are awaiting the results printout – bear with us…

There you go – provisional results for the final stage and the overall. We will leave it there for now. Thanks for reading the updates during the week, and come back to this site later for a report, results, photos and a highlights video.

And congrats to all the riders who helped make a great race!

*****

An Post Ras 2016 – stage 7

*****

Stage 7, Saturday May 28: Dungarvan to Baltinglass (155 kilometres):
ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage7

Unless the gaps are tight in the general classification, the penultimate day of racing could prove to be the last chance for those trying to take the yellow jersey to make their move. The 155 kilometre leg from Dungarvan to Baltinglass includes four climbs, including a category one ascent, and will be hard-fought.

The first of those rears up at Killinaspick (category 3, km. 46.4) and, after Mullinavat and Inistioge, the second and third occur at Ballygallon Hill (category 3, km. 76.8) and Raheendonore Climb (category 3, km. 80.8).

The peloton will then race through Graiguenamanagh and Borris prior to the day’s biggest mountain, the category one Mount Leinster (km. 106.2).


The riders will then hurtle down the descent and on through Tullow and Rathvilly prior to the finish in Baltinglass.

—–

Stage7map

Good morning and welcome to the live coverage from day seven of the 2016 An Post Ras.

11.01: 152 riders took to the start. Edward Lavarack (Britain JLT Condor) and Alexis Dulin (France AVC Aix en Provence) were two who didn’t continue.

11.07: Four riders attack – Michael Storer (Australia National Team), Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx).

11.09: They have been caught.

11.15: There have been various other attacks but nothing has stuck.

11.20: Alex Harvey (NFTO) has abandoned. No word that he crashed today, so perhaps he was ill.

11.22: It’s overcast but quite bright.

The riders have covered 18 kilometres.

Matthieu Converset (France AVC Aix en Provence) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) have attacked.

11.25: They have been caught.

11.31: Four others clip away – Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven), Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform), Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke).

11.34: They have been caught.

This was the GC this morning:

General classification after six stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 21 hours 27 mins 49 secs
2, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) at 2 secs
3, Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) same time
4, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
5, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 5 secs
6, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 6 secs
7, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 8 secs
8, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 10 secs
9, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
10, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 15 secs
11, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 17 secs
12, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 19 secs
13, Taylor Gunman (Britain Madison Genesis)
14, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) both same time
15, Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 29 secs

As you can see, things are very tight at the top. Fankhauser has ridden brilliantly to defend but has to monitor quite a few riders today. Seven are within ten seconds and six others are less than 20 seconds back.

11.34: Noah Granigan (USA CCB Racing) and Robin Kelly (Waterford Racing Club) have attacked.

11.37: They have been caught.

11.42: Here are the other classifications this morning.

Points:

1, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 56 pts
2, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) 53
3, Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 35
4, Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team) 32
5, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) 31

Mountains:

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 47
2, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 29 pts
3, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) 25
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) 22
5, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 20

Young rider:

1, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) 21 hours 27 mins 52 secs
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 10 secs
3, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 16 secs
4, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 26 sec
5, Regan Gough (New Zealand National Team) at 1 min 8 secs

Irish county rider:

1, Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) 21 hours 29 mins 19 secs
2, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) at 4 mins 9 secs
3, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 6 mins 22 secs
4, Marcus Christie (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 7 mins 22 secs
5, Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue) at 9 mins 37 secs

Cycling Ireland category 2:

1, Lewis Ferguson (Down North) 21 hours 40 mins 11 secs
2, Andrew Bye (Down Newry Wheelers) at 15 mins 19 secs
3, Lorcan Davoust (Dublin South) at 49 mins 20 secs
4, John Clarke (Meath Navan Avonmore) at 1 hour 16 mins 32 secs
5, Daragh Mortimer (Dublin South) at 1 hour 27 mins 47 secs

11.45: Here are the international and county team classifications.

Team:

1, Britain Madison Genesis, 64 hours 24 mins 28 secs
2, Netherlands Join-S De Rijke, at 47 secs
3, Ireland An Post Chain Reaction, at 1 min 3 secs
4, Ireland national team, at 1 min 31 secs
5, Australia national team, at 1 min 36 secs

Irish county team:

1, Cork Aquablue, 64 hours 53 mins 56 secs
2, Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles, at 14 secs
3, Down North, at 3 mins 27 secs
4, Kerry, at 7 mins 24 secs
5, Louth Asea Wheelworx, at 7 mins 29 secs

11.46: Nine riders have attacked:

Christopher McGlinchey (Ireland National Team)
Dylan Newbery (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team)
Liam Stones (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Jeremy Durrin (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Noah Granigan (USA CCB Racing)
David Watson (Down North)
Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap)
Marcus Christie (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

11.48: These have been joined by two others, namely:

Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Simon Ryan (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles)

They are 8 seconds clear.

11.52: These have been caught.

11.54: Three others clip away:

Liam Stones (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

11.56: Raphael Verini (France AVC Aix en Provence) bridges.

11.57: Now Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) bridges.

He is the mountains leader, and is chasing more points. McCrystal is second in the classification, 18 points back. That’s clearly why Holler bridged.

They have covered 45 kilometres and are 42 seconds ahead. They are starting Killinaspick climb (category 3, km. 46.4).

12.01: Average speed for the first hour: 45.4 kilometres per hour.

12.04: Here is the climb result – Holler boosted his lead.

Category three climb of Killinaspick climb (km. 46.4).

Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 5 pts
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 4
Raphael Verini (France AVC Aix en Provence) 3
Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) 2

12.07: There are now six chasers one minute 33 seconds back:

Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Jeremy Durrin (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Patrick Lechner (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)

12.11: These are being chased by James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven)

Further back, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) and Patrick Bosman (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) are chasing.

12.13: Gullen joins the six chasers.

12.15: Dunbar gets across. Bosman, the teammate of the yellow jersey, has gone back to the bunch to help him.

12.16: The eight chasers are at one minute 15 seconds. The yellow jersey group is at two minutes.

12.20: It’s now one minute ten seconds, with the peloton at one minute 45.

The riders are on a long uncategorised drag.

12.23: Those chasers are now one minute 10 seconds back.

Race leader Fankhauser has shown great form, jumping across to that chase group.

12.25: The bunch has now got up to them.

12.27: The five leaders are one minute and eight seconds ahead.

12.28: A number of riders have attacked the bunch.

12.30: These have been joined by others, leading to a chase group of 15:

Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team)
Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Thomas Moses (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Harrison Jones (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles)
Philip Lavery (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

12.34: These are 46 seconds back.

12.35: The bunch is at one minute ten seconds.

Now three riders attack from the bunch:

Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Michael Storer (Australia National Team)

12.38: The 15 man group is now 36 seconds behind.

12.39: The three chasers are a minute back, while the peloton is at one minute ten.

12.44: The leaders are starting the KOM

It is Ballygallon Hill (category 3, km. 76.8)

Meanwhile Dunbar, Shaw and Storer have caught the other chasers.

12.46: The yellow jersey has been driving the peloton and has almost caught the chasers.

The lead group is just 25 seconds ahead of the next riders, so everything is coming back together.

12.50: Here are the results of the last climb:

Category three climb of Ballygallon Hill (km. 76.8):

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 5 pts
2, Raphael Verini (France AVC Aix en Provence) 4
3, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) 3
4, Liam Stones (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) 2

Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) has bridged across to the leaders.

The main field is now 47 seconds back.

12.59: The main bunch is one minute 10 behind now, so they backed off.

13.19: The gap is 40 seconds.

13.22: The leaders have 32 seconds at kilometre 101, the start of Mount Leinster.

Those are some pics from the start line.

13.25: Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) and Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) pushed forward on the climb.

13.27: Holler then attacked and continued alone.

13.32: He remains out front but the bunch is getting closer. All the others from the break were caught.

13.38: Five riders caught and dropped Holler, namely:

Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team)
Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
Michael Storer (Australia National Team)

Another rider, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), is chasing alone.

13.39: Riders such as Damien Shaw, third overall, was in a group 55 seconds back.

13.40: The order over the top was:

Category one climb of Mount Leinster (km 106.2):

1, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team)
2, Michael Storer (Australia National Team)
3, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
4, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
5, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
6, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
7, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)

The Shaw group is at 40 seconds.

13.46: The various groups have all been racing down the descent. They are well inside the final 50 kilometres.

13.49: Fankhauser is driving the front group along, having distanced many of his rivals. There are two chasers at 32 seconds, while the next group is a minute back.

13.52: The leaders are inside the final 40 kilometres.

13.56: There are 18 chasers:

Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Martin Weiss (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team)
Erick Roswell (Britain Madison Genesis)
Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis)
Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Florent Castellarnau (France AVC Aix en Provence)
Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Hayden Roulston (New Zealand National Team)
Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

13.58: Apparently there are two more in that group – possibly Edmondson and another. Waiting for confirmation of the two names.

14.05: That second group is a minute back.

The leaders are approaching the 25 to go sign.

14.11: There are three Australians in the five man lead group, namely Hamilton, Storer and Hindley. They are doing the driving while Shaw is riding hard in the group behind.

14.12: 20 km to go for the leaders. The gap is 50 seconds.

14.14: Madison Genesis are also chasing and have brought the gap down to 46 seconds.

14.19: A reminder – this was the top 15 this morning.

General classification after six stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 21 hours 27 mins 49 secs
2, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) at 2 secs
3, Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) same time
4, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
5, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 5 secs
6, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 6 secs
7, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 8 secs
8, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 10 secs
9, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
10, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 15 secs
11, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 17 secs
12, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 19 secs
13, Taylor Gunman (Britain Madison Genesis)
14, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) both same time
15, Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 29 secs

Of those, Fankhauser, Hindley, Hamiliton and Dunbar are in the front group.

14.21: Those could be the new top four later, which is why Holmes and Shaw, second and third this morning, are chasing so hard.

14.22: The latest gap is one minute… Everyone in the front group has a reason to ride, so they will be committed.

14.25: Ten kilometres to go for the leaders…

14.27: The latest gap is 57 seconds… This could have a major effect on the GC.

14.28: We have gone ahead towards the finish. The final three kilometres are flat or slightly downhill, and there is a cross tailwind. It’s going to be very fast.

14.30: The gap is 59 seconds. The roads are wet and there is a 90 degree bend with 400 metres or so to go.

14.34: Two kilometres to go! 

14.36: Waiting…

Dunbar wins!

Great sprint by the Ireland rider. 

Hindley was second with Fankhauser third… 

14.42: The next group was over 30 seconds back so Fankhauser, Hindley, Hamiliton and Dunbar should be the new top four. 

Things remain tight at the top so Fankhauser will have another big day of racing tomorrow. 

That was a great stage, plenty of action. Stand by for provisional results…

There’s the results – we will skedaddle now for interviews, come back tomorrow for the final battle!
*****

An Post Ras 2016 – stage 6

*****

Stage 6, Friday May 27: Clonakilty to Dungarvan (159.1 kilometres):

ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage6

Things appear flatter than previous days on stage six, with the climbing limited to a trio of category three ascents. The first of these is at Windy Gap (km. 35.6), with the second located after the race moves through Coachford, Donoghmore and Mallow. The climb of Rathcormack Mountain (km. 94.7) leads the riders on to Aghern, Conna and Curraglas prior to the day’s third ascent, that of Knockroe (km. 127.8). However there are many draggy roads too, making things tougher than they seem on paper.


The finale will see the riders hurtle through Lismore and Cappoquin prior to the final sprint into Dungarvan.

—–

Stage6mapGood morning and welcome to the live coverage from day six of the 2016 An Post Ras.

11.03: We are heading out of Clonakilty, passing big crowds of cheering people. The local schools have turned out and this adds to the atmosphere.

11.10: There were 158 starters this morning. One rider did not – Joschka Beck (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid).

11.19: There have been no breaks thus far.

11.22: Now Eddie Dunbar (Ireland national team) attacks. He gets 17 seconds.

11.24: He is now 35 seconds clear.

11.25: Dylan Kennett (New Zealand National Team) and Daire Feeley (Galway Team Itap) are on their way across to him.

11.31: They are 28 seconds back. The bunch is at one minute 25 seconds. The main field has split.

11.34: Oliver Maxwell (Britain Neon Velo) has attacked the bunch.

Dunbar is pulling away from the two chasers. They are now 33 seconds back.

Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx) has also attacked the bunch.

11.40: The main field is one minute 24 seconds back.

11.41: So there are four riders in between Dunbar and the bunch. Race radio states the first two chasers, Kennett and Feeley, are at 24 seconds, but unsure of the gaps to the other two chasers.

11.43: The main field is one minute 27 seconds back.

11.45: Kennett and Feeley are now just 15 seconds back.

One minute 30 for the bunch.

11.50: Here’s the bunch at the start.

11.52: Dowling and Maxwell have apparently been caught.

11.56: Dunbar is heading for the Windy Gap climb. He has been joined by Kennett and Feeley.

12.07: Dunbar, Kennett and Feeley are now a whopping 4 minutes 30 up on the main field. Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx) is two minutes ten seconds back. So it was just Maxwell who was caught earlier.

The leading trio are heading into Coachford, 42 kilometres after the start.

12.10: Another time gap – four minutes 18 for the bunch. Dunbar started the day 14th overall, 19 seconds back. So he’s very much race leader on the road.

12.16: Dowling has been caught.

Here are the results of that earlier climb.

Category 3 climb of Windy Gap (km. 35.6):

1, Daire Feeley (Galway Team Itap) 5 pts
2, Eddie Dunbar (Ireland national team) 4
3, Dylan Kennett (New Zealand National Team) 3

We presume Dowling was fourth there… Race radio broke up

12.24: 45 kilometres were covered in the first hour.

The Austria Tyrol team of race leader Clemens Fankhauser, Madison Genesis and Australia have been doing the chasing.

The latest time gap is four minutes 20 seconds.

12.38: The latest gap is four minutes 25 seconds. Dunbar continues as the virtual yellow jersey, but will need to hold off the inevitable bunch acceleration later.

13.00: The break and bunch have both been riding at the same speed, with the gap hovering around four minutes 20 for a long time.

13.17: These roads have been constantly up and down; just that earlier categorised climb thus far, but plenty of rolling terrain.

13.18: The break has covered 89 kilometres thus far. There are 70 kilometres left.

Next up is the climb of Rathcormack Mountain (km. 94.7), after which they will race through Aghern, Conna and Curraglas prior to the day’s third ascent, that of Knockroe (km. 127.8).

13.22: We are behind the break and they are all rolling through, doing their equal share. The latest tine gap is four minutes 15.

The Rás is Dunbar’s first race back after a broken collarbone. That crash was five weeks ago, and so he needed a couple of days to get some race sharpness back.

13.26: The break is now at the start of that climb.

13.30: Dunbar is doing all of the work on this climb. The bunch is three and a half minutes back, with four teams working to bring this lead down.

13.34: The gap at the top was three minutes ten seconds.

Dylan Kennett (New Zealand) is a big track rider and was struggling on the climbs. He’s been dropped. There are just two leaders now.

Here are the results from that climb:

Category three ascent of Rathcormack Mountain (km. 94.7):

1, Eddie Dunbar (Ireland national team) 5 pts
2, Daire Feeley (Galway Team Itap) 5 pts
3, Dylan Kennett (New Zealand National Team) 3
4, Nicodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 2

13.44: After the climb nine riders pushed ahead from the main bunch. These were race leader Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team), Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Jai Hindley (Australia National Team), Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis), James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven), Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform) and Regan Gough (New Zealand National Team).

Meanwhile Kennett has pulled in and is waiting for the bunch.

13.46: Those nine chasers are just one minute 30 back now…

13.55: Porter crashed out of the chase group. Meanwhile the other eight were caught by the bunch. Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) has attacked to try to bridge to the break.

14.00: At approximately kilometre 166, he gets up to the two leaders. The bunch is close by, though… Just 18 seconds back.

14.03: The break is about to be caught…

14.04: It’s all together with just under 40 kilometres to go.

14.08: George Fowler (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Jordi Sloof (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) have attacked.

14.12: They have been hauled back… The lead group is approximately 40 riders.

14.15: Heading into Tallow (km 127), one rider is trying to go clear. It’s Christopher McGlinchey (Ireland national team).

Next up is the category three climb of Knockroe (km. 127.8). McGlinchey is just 100 metres clear.

He was caught.

Here are the results of that climb:

Category three climb of Knockroe (km. 127.8).

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 5 pts
2, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
3, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
4, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis)

Holmes and Shaw are the closest challengers to Fankhauser, so with those three in the top four, it suggests there was likely some attacking on the climb.

14.24: Thomas Moses (Britain JLT Condor) attacks.

He’s been caught.

Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) and Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) clip away…

14.30: The three leaders are 15 seconds ahead.

14.34: They have 20 kilometres to go.. Can they hold on?

Both Gullen and van der Hoorn have won stages in the race.

14.37: They are now 23 seconds ahead… It’s growing…

14.38: Now 28 seconds…

This is a huge threat to the race leader.

Van der Hoorn was sixth overall this morning, just six seconds back. Gullen was two seconds further back in seventh. Edmondson was 11th, 17 seconds back.

14.43: The last time check has them 40 seconds clear. They are inside the final twelve kilometres…

14.45: It keeps going up – 42 seconds.

14.46: They are inside 10 kilometres to go.

14.48: Has the pendulum swung? It’s now 27 seconds.

14.50: Now 23 seconds…

14.54: It’s down to 12 seconds…

14.56: Inside the final two kilometres the bunch is getting closer and closer…

14.57: Last kilometre….

They have been caught…!

14.58: Aaron Gate wins…

The An Post Chainreaction rider fortifies his grip on the green jersey.

15.02: He won two stages plus the green jersey last year.

Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) was second with Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) third.
Here’s a shot of the finish, as taken by Jenni Burke of WHPR.

Fankhauser holds onto yellow – that must have been a very nervous day…


That is the provisional results sheet.

As you can see, it’s still really tight overall. We’ll leave it there for now – interviews to get! 

Thanks for reading, come back for more tomorrow… Big day in the mountains ahead.
*****

An Post Ras 2016 – stage 5

*****

Stage 5, Thursday May 26: Sneem to Clonakilty (148.3 kilometres):

ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage5

Day five is a 148.3 kilometre dash from Sneem to Clonakilty, and is another stage featuring a number of climbs.

Early on it moves through Kenmare, Castletownbere and Bonane, then the riders will tackle the second category ascent of Caha Pass (km. 49.5). The descent brings the peloton to Glengarriff, home town of the late actress Maureen O’Hara, and location for a Post Office Prime at Memory Lane (km. 53.4).

Very soon afterwards the category three Glengarriff Climb (km. 56.9) rears up and then, after moving through Bantry, the riders will sprint it out for the points atop the category three Glanlough (km. 80.1).

The riders will be cheered on through Ballydehob and Skibbereen prior to the day’s penultimate climb, the third category Glandore (km. 117.8). This is followed 18.3 kilometres later by the first passage over the finish line, and the start of a 12.2 kilometre finishing circuit which includes the category two McCurtain Hill (km. 137.1).

This could well act as the platform for late attacks, giving those challenging for the yellow jersey a chance to put some pressure on.

—–

Stage5map

Good morning and welcome to the live coverage from stage five of the 2016 An Post Ras.

A total of 162 riders lined out in Sneem.

Ryan Thomas (Australia Data 3 Cisco) was the sole non starter

11.02: Very soon after the drop of the flag there has been an attack.

Matthew Teggart (Ireland National Team), Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke), Harrison Jones (Britain Pedal Heaven), Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue) and Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue) have clipped away.

These have been joined by three others, namely

Philip Lavery (Louth Asea Wheelworx)
Cathal Moynihan (Kerry)
Christopher McGlinchey (Ireland National Team)

11.04: There are now eight leaders 100 metres clear.

11.05: They have all been caught.

11.12: It’s still all together. No further moves have got clear.

11.18: This was yesterday’s stage result:

Stage 4, Wednesday May 25: Dingle to Sneem:

1, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) 162.8 kilometres in 3 hours 52 mins 54 secs
2, Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
3, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
4, Patrick Lechner (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
5, Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team)
6, Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx)
7, Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
8, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
9, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
10, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
11, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
12, Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
13, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
14, Martin Weiss (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
15, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) all same time

11.20: This is the GC after yesterday:

General classification after four stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 14 hours 12 mins 35 secs
2, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
3, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 5 secs
4, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 6 secs
5, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 8 secs
6, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 10 secs
7, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
8, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 15 secs
9, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 17 secs
10, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 19 secs
11, Taylor Gunman (Britain Madison Genesis)
12, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) both same time
13, Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 29 secs
14, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis)
15, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) both same time

11.22: Two riders – Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) and Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx) are clear.

11.23: Shaw has pushed onwards and Dowling has gone back to the bunch.

He has been joined by six other riders:

Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team)
Scott Thomas (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team)
Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Oliver Maxwell (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Jordi Sloof (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap)

These have been joined by two others, namely:

Liam Stones (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)

11.28: They now have 17 seconds.

11.32: The gap continues to inch upwards, it is now 22 seconds.

Here are the other classifications as they stand this morning…

Points:

1, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 35 pts
2, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) 30
3, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 25
4, Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 25
5, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) 23

Mountains:

1, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 29 pts
2, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 21
3, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) 18
4, Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) 16
5, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) 14

Young rider:

1, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) 14 hours 12 mins 38 secs
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 10 secs
3, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 16 secs
4, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 26 sec
5, Regan Gough (New Zealand National Team) at 1 min 8 secs

Irish county rider:

1, Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) 14 hours 14 mins 5 secs
2, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 25 secs
3, Marcus Christie (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 1 min 25 secs
4, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) at 2 mins 54 secs
5, Richard Maes (Kerry) at 3 mins 55 secs

Cycling Ireland category 2:

1, Lewis Ferguson (Down North) 14 hours 19 mins
2, Andrew Bye (Down Newry Wheelers) at 14 mins 33 secs
3, Lorcan Davoust (Dublin South) at 20 mins 4 secs
4, Daragh Mortimer (Dublin South) at 37 mins 31 secs
5, John Clarke (Meath Navan Avonmore) at 47 mins 14 secs

11.32: And the group classifications:

Team:

1, Britain Madison Genesis, 42 hours 39 mins 13 secs
2, Netherlands Join-S De Rijke, at 47 secs
3, Ireland An Post Chain Reaction, at 1 min 3 secs
4, Ireland national team, at 1 min 4 secs
5, Australia national team, at 1 min 9 secs

Irish county team:

1, Cork Aquablue, 42 hours 52 mins 53 secs
2, Kerry, at 2 min 51 secs
3, Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles, at 5 mins 23 secs
4, Down North, at 5 mins 39 secs
5, Louth Asea Wheelworx, at 6 mins 14 secs

11.32: Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform) has attacked and is 32 seconds behind the leaders.

The peloton is at 39 seconds.

11.36: Things are coming back together.

11.37: One big peloton again.

11.50: A group has slipped clear:

Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Matthieu Converset (France AVC Aix en Provence)
Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)

They are being chased by:

Martin Weiss (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team)
Janvier Hadi (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue)
Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles)
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

11.54: The peloton caught that chase group and closed up to the leaders.

11.55: Dunbar countered just when they were being caught and is now ten seconds clear.

We have been climbing the cat 3 Windy Gap (km. 39.6)

11.57: Dunbar’s gap increased to 13 seconds but then dropped to nine.

12.03: It’s dropped to 5 seconds.

12.06: Radio didn’t call that Dunbar was caught but we believe he has been. The peloton split on the climb, with the front half comprising approximately 60 riders.

12.11: Things have merged again – one big field.

12.12: After 53.4 kilometres of racing they are in Glengarriff, where Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue) takes the prime.

On the category three Glengarriff Climb (km. 56.9), eight riders pushed ahead. They are:

Matthew Teggart (Ireland National Team)
Jack Wilson (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Thomas Moses (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Matthieu Converset (France AVC Aix en Provence)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue)
Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

12.14: They were however hauled back and Dunbar tries to go again.

12.17: He has seven seconds.

12.19: JLT Condor, Netherlands Join-S De Rijke and Australia chase and bring him back.

12.21: Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor presented by Mavic) and Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) have clipped away.

Results have come through for the first two climbs.

Category two ascent of Caha Pass (km. 49.5)

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team)
3, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
4, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
5, Michael Storer (Australia National Team)
6, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)

Category three Glengarriff Climb (km. 56.9)

1, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
2, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
3, David McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
4, Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)

Later on we have the category three Glanlough (km. 80.1), the category three Glandore (km. 117.8) and, on the 12.2 kilometre finishing circuit, the category two McCurtain Hill (km. 137.1).

12.25: Morton and Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor presented by Mavic) were caught.

12.31: Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) has attacked.

Martin Weiss (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) and David McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) are chasing.

12.32: The chasers were caught. Potts remains out front.

12.33: Nicolas Vereecken (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Jordi Sloof (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) and Timothy Mitchell (USA CCB Racing) are now chasing heading into Bantry.

12.36: There are lots of gaps in the field in Bantry. It is 69 kilometres after the start and 79.3 from the end.

12.38: It’s all together again.

Christopher McGlinchey (Ireland National Team), George Fowler (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) and Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) have now clipped away.

12.40: They have 8 seconds.

Florent Castellarnau (France AVC en Provence) gets up to them.

12.41: Three others bridge – Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team), Thomas Moses (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) and Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team).

12.44: These are all closed down.

12.47: The riders are on the next climb, the category three Glanlough (km. 80.1).

12.54: Here are the results of that.

Category three Glanlough (km. 80.1).

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
2, Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
3, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team)
4, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)

Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) attacks after about 85 kilometres. Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) is chasing.

12.56: They are now together. They have 20 seconds.

12.58: It’s now 25 seconds.

Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue) is at 37 secs.

Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform), Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitzcycles) and Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue) are chasing further back.

13.04: They catch Lacey.

13.13: Heading into Skibbereen there are two leaders and five chasers.

13.14: The chasers are at 27 seconds. The two leaders, Groen and Dunne, are 45 seconds clear.

13.20: Further back, Jack Wilson (An Post Chain Reaction) is chasing alone.

The five chasers are making progress and are 18 seconds back. Wilson is 46 seconds back with the peloton a further ten seconds back.

13.23: Wilson is now 40 seconds back, with Chris McGlinchey (Ireland National team) at 52. The main bunch is a minute behind.

13.29: There are now seven chasers – Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) and Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) got across from the peloton. They join Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue), Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform), Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitzcycles) and Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue).

13.30: They catch Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) and Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic), the two leaders.

13.31: National champion Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) bridges. So there are now ten leaders.

13.37: they are one minute 18 seconds ahead.

13.39: Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) has started chasing,

13.40: After 116 kilometres the leaders are now in Glandore. The third category Glandore climb (km. 117.8) follows.

Holmes is at 43 seconds while the main field is a minute back.

13.46: He is 40 seconds back with the bunch at one minute 20.

13.48: Here are the results of that previous climb.

Category three climb of Glandore (km. 117.8):

1, Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles)
2, Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
3, Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue)
4, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)

13.51: The leaders are approaching 25 km to go.

Holmes joins the leaders, so there are 11 ahead.

13.54: They are one minute 22 ahead now.

14.00: Twenty kilometres to go for the leaders.

14.01: The bunch is one minute 23 back. Will the break stay clear?

14.02: Latest gap is one minute 24.

14.05: It’s now one minute 40 – this break could do it.

14.10: Now one minute 35….

14.12: McKenna punctured out of the move on the finishing straight. It’s a really steep rise to the line, and it continues beyond as the second category two McCurtain Hill (km. 137.1).

14.18: They are inside ten kilometres to go…

14.20: Shaw, Dunne, Morton, Mol, Holmes and Ronning-Vinther have attacked. The rest of the break is half a minute back, while the peloton is a further 30 seconds back.

14.24: Now with 4km to go the bunch has caught the second half of the break. The front six are 45 seconds up.

14.25: The race leader is dragging the bunch along. The break is inside the final 2kms…

14.27: Final kilometre…

14.27: Former Vacansoleil pro and past Tour of Qatar winner Wouter Mol wins a six man sprint to the line! The break stays clear.

Looks like Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform) was second.

Eoin Morton grabbed third – Conor Dunne was either fourth or fifth.

Holmes was just 29 seconds back this morning….

14.34: The yellow jersey could change…

14.37: Actually, Fankhauser may just have hung on…the break was 27 seconds clear at the line. This is all provisional so bear with us…

14.40: Confirmation – Dunne finished fourth, a couple of millimetres behind Morton. He came onto the podium to check the photo finish.

14.43: Fankhauser keeps yellow by two seconds.. Holmes is second, with Shaw also two seconds back. Great performance!


Those are the provisional results – as you can see it’s still really tight at the top…

We’ll leave it there for now. Thanks for reading, come back tomorrow for more!

*****

An Post Ras 2016 – stage 4

*****

Stage 4, Wednesday May 25: Dingle to Sneem (162.8 kilometres):

ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage4

More climbs follow on the 162.8 kilometre race from Dingle to Sneem, with the first of those – the category three ascent of Lispole – coming just 9.8 kilometres after the start. After then racing through Inch, Castlemaine, Milltown, Killorglin and Cappaghmore, the riders will then begin the much tougher Ballaghisheen Pass, with the category one slopes finally relenting 87.4 kilometres in.


After that the peloton will battle it out in an An Post Sprint in Waterville (km. 111.1), on the category two climb of Coomakista (km. 118.6) and at the category three ascent of Letterfish (km. 156.2). From there less than seven kilometres remain before the final sprint in Sneem and what is the halfway point of this year’s An Post Rás.

—–

Stage4mapGood morning and welcome to the live coverage from stage four of the 2016 An Post Ras.

11.03: We are rolling out of Dingle, with the countdown taking place right now behind us. It’s bright, warm and a bit breezy – wind could definitely be a factor today, as well as the climbs mentioned above.

11.04: A total of 166 riders took the start. There were no late withdrawals.

11.08: Three riders clipped away – Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Anthony Walsh (Cork Aquablue) and Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue).

11.12: No word since on those three escapees. We presume from the radio silence that they were caught, but will let you know if this isn’t the case.

The day’s first climb has begun, starting at kilometre seven. It’s the category three ascent of Lispole, which summits at 9.8 kilometres. Later on there is the much tougher Ballaghisheen Pass (category one, km 87.4), the category two climb of Coomakista (km. 118.6) and the category three ascent of Letterfish (km. 156.2).

11.14: Two riders have attacked: Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) and Stephen Murray (Cork Strata3/Velorevolution).

11.16: It’s all back together at the front.

11.18: Here’s the result of the first climb.

Category three ascent of Lispole (km. 9.8)

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 5 pts
2, Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue) 4
3, Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) 3
4, Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) 2

11.25: The roads are very rolling, which will make the day even tougher. We spoke to David McCann, the Ireland Development Team manager at the start. He said that the legs will be beginning to tire today and that the racing will really begin.

11.28: There have been a number of short lived attacks but nothing is sticking.

11.32: Eight riders have attacked. They are the following:

Ryan Thomas (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team)
George Fowler (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue)
David Hamilton (Down North)
Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles)
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

The peloton is at 10 seconds

11.33: Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) and race leader Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) have bridged across.

11.35: As a result of Fankhauser being in the moved, they have been chased down. It’s all together again. Well, apart from the riders who have been dropped in these opening kilometres.

11.50: Things have remained all together.

11.54: Now four riders attack. They are Jordi Sloof (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke), Conor Hennebry (Cork Aquablue), Eoin O’Connell (Kerry) and Simon Ryan (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles).

They are being chased by George Fowler (NFTO), Oliver Maxwell (Britan Neon Velo), Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform), Daire Feely (Galway Team iTap) and Aaron O’Brien (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles).

11.58: It’s all back together again.

12.01: A group is moving clear again. These six riders are:

Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis)
Jeremy Durrin (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles)
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

12.03: They are 12 seconds clear.

12.07: Richardson started the day in the blue jersey of county rider leader.

The peloton isn’t giving these any room and is about to reel them in.

12.17: With 54 kilometres covered, news has come through that Marcus Christie (Louth Asea Wheelworx) has taken the prime in Killorglin.

12.19: There are now six leaders.

Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team)
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue)
Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue)

George Fowler (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) is chasing.

The main field is close behind him. Fowler has been caught.

12.25: Several other riders bridged, but it’s now all back together again.

The roads ahead are stunning – incredible terrain, with forests, scrubland, lakes and mountains. The roads are perfect for a break – rolling, twisting and conducive to being out of sight very quickly.

12.31: Here’s a reminder of how things stand in the GC.

General classification after three stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 10 hours 19 mins 41 secs
2, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
3, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 5 secs
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) same time
5, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 6 secs
6, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 8 secs
7, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 10 secs
8, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
9, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 15 secs
10, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 17 secs
11, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 19 secs
12, Taylor Gunman (Britain Madison Genesis) same time
13, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) at 29 secs
14, Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
15, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) both same time

As you can see, it’s still really tight at the top and a good break could upend the classification.

12.32: There are two leaders, Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) and Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform).

They are being chased by four others, namely

Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Anthony Walsh (Cork Aquablue)
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

12.33: Now Nicolas Vereecken (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) to those four chasers. They are 12 seconds back, with the peloton 25 seconds behind.

12.35: These two groups merge, leading to a seven man lead group.

12.36: The gap has shot up to one minute five seconds.

12.43: And now it rockets to two minute 45 seconds. This move is gone for now.

The weather continues to be sunny and warm, which will keep the morale up as the legs continue to tire.

12.59: The break is still well clear and heading for the category one climb of the Ballaghisheen Pass, topping out 87.4 kilometres after the start.

Here’s the mountains classification this morning. Could well be changes.

Mountains:

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 15 pts
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) 12
3, Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) 10
4, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 10
5, Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue) 8

13.01: Latest gap: two minutes 30 seconds.

Here’s the points classification this morning.

1, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 22 pts
2, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) 19
3, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 18
4, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) 17
5, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 17

13.02: The gap is two minutes 30. The race leader’s team has been chasing but now he punctures, which will disrupt things.

13.05: Now two minutes 26 seconds.

13.07: The yellow jersey Fankhauser has rejoined the peloton, which is on the climb.

13.12: Anthony Walsh was dropped from the break on the climb. It went over the summit, as has the bunch. The peloton was one minute 40 seconds back, so the gap has definitely ebbed.

13.17: There have been a couple of crashes on the descent.

Category one climb of the Ballaghisheen Pass (km. 87.4):

1, Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform).
2, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)
3, Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
4, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform)
5, Nicolas Vereecken (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
6, Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic),
7, Anthony Walsh (Cork Aquablue)

Groen crashed out of the break, presumably on the descent. Walsh punctured, leaving Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic), Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform), Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform), Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) and Nicolas Vereecken (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) out front.

Vereeken took the An Post Sprint in Waterville (km. 111.1).

The leaders have covered 115.6 kilomres. They are now on the category two climb of Coomakista, which summits at kilometre 118.6.

13.46: It’s now one minute 50 seconds between break and bunch.

That’s a shot of the break, which is riding hard to try to fend off the chase. The roads are exposed here, riding along the coast, and there is a crosswind. That’ll make things more complicated.

14.03: The leaders are one minute 50 ahead of the bunch with 32 kilometres to go to the finish. It’s going to be hard for them to hold off those behind unless they can pad that lead.

14.16: The five leaders are at 25 kilometres to go. They are now just one minute and two seconds ahead, and so it seems inevitable that they will be caught. They’ll keep plugging away, though, perhaps hoping for reinforcements from behind.

14.25: The gap is 45 seconds.

14.30: The riders cross the finish line twice today, with a 17km finishing loop. The break was still clear there. This is that finishing straight.

With 152 kilometres covered, the gap is 28 seconds. The leaders are about to start the climb.

14.42: With 10 km to go, the gap is 25 seconds. It’s surely game over.

14.45: Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform) has been dropped from the break. Just four up there now.

14.51: It’s all back together with 5 to go…

14.53: More attacks but nothing is sticking..

14.55: It’s an uphill sprint to the line…

Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) wins the gallop, beating Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Patrick Lechner (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) and Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team) to the line.

Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx) takes a fine result for the Irish county riders with sixth.

14.56: Race leader Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) finishes eighth and with that whole group in the same time, holds on overall.

14.58: Here’s the full top ten and also the GC:

An Post Rás (2.2)

Stage 4, Wednesday May 25: Dingle to Sneem:

1, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) 162.8 kilometres in 3 hours 52 mins 54 secs
2, Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
3, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
4, Patrick Lechner (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
5, Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team)
6, Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx)
7, Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
8, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
9, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
10, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) all same time

General classification after three stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 10 hours 19 mins 41 secs
2, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
3, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 5 secs
4, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 8 secs
5, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 10 secs
6, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
7, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 15 secs
8, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 17 secs
9, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 19 secs
10, Taylor Gunman (Britain Madison Genesis) same time

We’ll leave it there for now. Excuse the delay in the finale – had some issues which prevented these finish updates.

*****

*****

An Post Ras 2016 – stage 3

*****

Stage 3, Tuesday May 24: Charleville to Dingle (133.2 kilometres):

ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage3

From the longest stage on day two to the shortest, stage three of the An Post Rás is just 133.2 kilometres in length. However it contains one of the hardest climbs in the race and could well see big chances in the general classification.

The early part of the race is flat and fast, moving through Freemount and Newmarket before a Post Office Prime in Ballydesmond (km. 48.2). Soon afterwards the riders will battle it out on the category three ascent of Knockabout Cross (km. 51), then scrap for honours at the Post Office Prime in Scartaglen (km. 60.6).


After that the race moves through Castleisland, Tralee and Stradbally. The peloton then races on to the category one climb of Conor Pass (km. 126.1), with the summit located just 7.1 kilometres from the finish in Dingle. This is certain to break things apart.

—–

Stage3mapGood morning and welcome to the live coverage from stage three of the 2016 An Post Ras.

10.50: We are in Charleville. It’s sunny and quite warm, so perfect conditions for racing. There’s a big crowd here awaiting the drop of the flag, and a good atmosphere.

10.58: There are 173 starters. One rider, Fergus Rooney (Antrim Phoenix), did not sign on.

11.00: Right after the drop of the flag, Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue) has jumped clear. He has been joined by yesterday’s stage winner, Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles), and Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform).

11.03: They have a six second gap.

11.05: Sixteen riders have set off in pursuit.

11.06: They get across, so there is now a leading group of 19 riders.

They are:

Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
Christopher McGlinchey (Ireland National Team)
Nicolas Vereecken (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Martin Weiss (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team)
Tristan Robbins (Britain Madison Genesis)
Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Hayden Roulston (New Zealand National Team)
Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue)
Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue)
Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles)
Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap)
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

Joseph Breheny (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) was there but lost contact.

Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) got across, making it 19 again.

11.12: Back in the bunch, race leader Taco van der Hoorn (Netherlands Join-S de Rijke) has been doing much of the chasing.

11.14: The break is messing about, with riders not pulling through, and they have been caught.

11.19: Now Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) attacks.

11.22: He was caught but now his teammate Joe Fry and Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S de Rijke) attack. They are joined by Christopher McGlinchey (Ireland national team) and Patrick Gamper (Austria Tirol Cycling).

11.22: He was caught but now his teammate Joe Fry and Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S de Rijke) attack. They are joined by Christopher McGlinchey (Ireland national team) and Patrick Gamper (Austria Tirol Cycling).

11.23: Three others then bridge, namely Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chainreaction), Iloyd Chapman (Britain Pedal Heaven) and Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo).

11.24: The cooperation isn’t as it should be and Fry and Mol push onwards.

11.26: They have been caught and things are breaking up at the rear of the bunch. The riders are on a drag…it’s not categorised, but it will put people under pressure anyway.

11.38: James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) is clear alone. Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue) is in pursuit.

Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco) is with Cigala. They are 20 seconds back.

There is a group behind trying to get up to the two chasers, with the peloton 35 seconds back.

11.43: That group bridges, and so there are ten chasers.

They are:

Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team)
Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team)
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Joe Fry (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue)
Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitzcycles)

Two others are chasing.

Patrick Gamper (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
George Fowler (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)

Those two others join up now, making it 12 behind.

11.44: And now there are two more in pursuit.

Erick Roswell (Britain Madison Genesis)
Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)

11.46: They get across, so there is a 14 man chase group.

Five others, namely Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Hayden Roulston (New Zealand National Team), Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) and Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor) are in pursuit.

Slightly further back, Matthieu Converset (France AVC Aix en Provence) and Jordi Sloof (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) are also chasing.

They all join up together, and are 12 seconds behind the lone leader James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven).

11.53: The leader has been caught, so there is now a lead group of 22 riders.

11.55: They are now one minute six seconds ahead of the peloton with approximately 42 kilometres covered.

11.59: The peloton has reduced that gap slightly, but this is clearly a dangerous move.

12.02: The riders have covered approximately 48 kilometres and are about to start the day’s first climb, the category three Knockabout Cross (km. 51).

Later on there is another climb, the far bigger Conor Pass. This is certain to break things up and peaks at kilometre 126.1, just 7.1 kilometres from the finish in Dingle. The fast descent will mean that those clear at the top have a strong chance of fighting it out for the stage win.

The big break is 58 seconds ahead of the bunch now.

12.04: The riders are approaching the 50 kilometre sign, so already getting close to the halfway point of this, the shortest stage.

12.06: Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) has jumped clear of the peloton, which is now 56 seconds back. He’s got a huge task ahead to close up to those out front.

12.08: He’s been caught.

The results have come through from the day’s first climb.

Category three climb of Knockabout Cross (km. 51):

1, Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue) 5 pts
2, George Fowler (Britain NFTO) 4
3, Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo) 3
4, Eddie Dunbar (Ireland National Team) 2

12.10: The latest time gap is 38 seconds.

12.15: And it goes back up: 57 seconds.

12.18: Confirmation comes through that several minutes ago, Olympic track medallist Hayden Roulston (New Zealand) jumped clear briefly to take the Post Office Prime in Scartaglen (km. 60.6).

12.20: The leaders are approximately 63 kilometres into the stage. It remains bright and warm, with a slight wind.

The roads here are narrow and bordered with trees and hedges, and so that will help shield the riders.

12.24: The riders are heading for Castleisland.

12.28: Latest time gap: one minute 15 seconds. It’s not huge, but with so many teams represented out front, the numbers of those who will chase behind are limited.

12.38: The gap has been falling due to the chasing efforts of the Australian national team. It’s now 26 seconds.

12.44: The gap climbs to 28 seconds, but is still smaller than the break would like. A couple of riders have punctured from this move and will need to be very quick if they are to get back up. It’s going to be hard with the bunch so close.

Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco) and Matthieu Converset (France AVC Aix en Provence) were the two who punctured. They haven’t got back on, so there are now 20 leaders.

12.48: The break has covered 86 kilometres thus far. The mountains are rearing up ahead of us, although it’s going to be a while before we hit the bottom of the Conor Pass.

13.02: After 98 kilometres, the riders press onwards. The terrain is becoming a little hillier, with false flats skirting the sides of mountains.

Joe Fry (Britain Pedal Heaven) also punctured out, so down to 19 riders.

A couple of photos of the break. Eddie Dunbar (Ireland National Team) is one of the home riders in the move. The bunch can be seen in the background on these wide roads.

Another rider punctured out of the move but unfortunately we missed his ID.

13.12: The Neon Velo team are chasing behind. The gap is 28 seconds, so it’s hovering around the same.

13.13: And now it drops to 15 seconds. Will there be a regrouping before the big climb? Looks like it…

13.14: It’s just 100 metres…now the break has been caught. More attacks are going right away..

13.15: It’s all together for now…

13.17: Just 25 kilometres left now… Things are going to go to smithereens on the Conor Pass, which is lurking ever closer.

The views are utterly stunning. Mountains ahead of us, the sea to the right. Blue skies over the sea leading to a turquoise colour. Stand by for a quick photo…

13.22: Now 20 kilometres to go…

13.26: The climb gets ever-closer, and the roads are rising gradually upwards. It’s all together for now. That’s not going to last long😀

13.31: We’ve had to nip ahead to go to the finish, and will work off race radio. Hoping the mobile connection holds up over the Conor Pass. No word as yet of any attacks. They are coming, though…trust us on that!

13.33: The bunch is now on the climb and some riders are quickly being dropped.

13.34: Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx) was the first to push ahead. Others are coming after him.

13.38: Now James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) pushed clear. Things have shattered behind him.

He’s passed ten kilometres to go. He’s just 100 metres ahead of the chasers.

Here’s a quick phone shot of the view back down the climb.

2014 race winner Clemens Fankhauser, Hamilton, Hindley and Holler attacked on the descent. Eddie Dunbar got up to them, but 14 others also rejoined.

One rider clips away and takes the stage… Being told it is James Gullen, who was flying on the climb. Well deserved after all his efforts!


Confirmation – James Gullen gets it..

Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chainreaction) and Nico Holler (Germany Bike Aid) were second and third.

New race leader – Clemens Fankhauser, the 2014 race winner! Big performance, especially after a bad crash inside the final 3km yesterday.


Those are the provisional results – Gullen two seconds ahead of the next chasers. Fankhauser is three seconds clear in GC, with Hindley second and Gate and Dunbar third and fourth. 

Interviews and photos now – will leave it there, thanks for reading! More drama tomorrow, see you then… 
*****

An Post Ras 2016 – stage 2

*****

Stage 2, Monday May 23: Mullingar to Charleville (183.7 kilometres):

ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage2

Stage two of this year’s An Post Rás is the longest at 183.7 kilometres, but features mainly flat roads and will almost certainly be characterised by high speeds. The route passes through Tullamore after 30 kilometres, and then continues on through Riverstown, Nenagh and Silvermines prior to the day’s sole categorised climb at Shallee (cat. 3, km. 120.3). From there the riders will continue their battles through Newport and on to Caherconlish, where an An Post Prime will further enliven things 147.4 kilometres after the drop of the flag.


That gallop is located in the final hour of racing and will pre-empt the final dash to the finish line, which will take place on Charleville’s main street.

—–

Stage2map

Good morning and welcome to the live coverage from stage two of the 2016 An Post Ras. We are in Mullingar and seconds away from the roll out of this town. It’s cloudy but quite bright. Most importantly, it’s dry.

There’s a big crowd here and a good atmosphere.

11.04: 175 riders took the start of the stage. There was one non-starter from yesterday. The flag has dropped and the first attack of the day has been launched: Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo), last week’s Shay Elliott Memorial winner.

11.06: He’s in form but the bunch has quickly reeled him in.

Today’s stage is the longest of this year’s race. It’s hard to envisage the bunch controlling this the whole way, and so a break is very possible. Will it stay clear, though?

11.09: Five riders tried to get away but were reeled in. National road race champion Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chainreaction) has clipped away.

11.11: He’s ten seconds clear…

11.12: Two riders are trying to get across to him. However they have been caught. Shaw remains out front alone.

11.14: Others have tried to bridge but they too have been hauled back. Shaw is dangling out front.

11.15: Now Jeremy Durrin (Britain Neon Velo) bridges. Two against the bunch. Will the elastic snap?

11.17: Three others have bridged. They are Jack Wilson (An Post Chainreaction), Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue) and Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx).

11.18: Shane O’Neill (Tipperary Nenagh) also bridges but, almost immediately, the bunch brings these six riders back.

11.25: The peloton hurtles onwards with no further groups getting clear for now. It’s almost certainly the calm before the storm, though.

11.28: Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitzcycles) attacks. He’s wearing the mountains jersey today after taking the day’s sole categorised climb yesterday. However he’s a long way away from the day’s climb, that of Shallee (cat. 3, km. 120.3). So that’s not his motivation.

11.31: He’s being chased by Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) and, further back, by Adam Armstrong (Louth Asea Wheelworx).

The peloton is half a minute back.

11.32: Feeley and Armstrong join up together. That’s going to boost their chances to get across.

11.38: The trio have joined up and are 53 seconds ahead of the peloton. They have covered approximately 29 kilometres.

We are heading into Tullamore. After that the route winds through Riverstown, Nenagh and Silvermines and then, after climb at Shallee (cat. 3, km. 120.3), it continues through Newport and on to Caherconlish, where an An Post Prime will further enliven things. That’s 147.4 kilometres after the drop of the flag, and thus inside the final 40 kilometres.

11.40: Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue) and Aaron O’Brien (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles) are in pursuit.

11.42: Those two are one minute and two seconds back. No word just yet on how far back the peloton is – we’ll let you know asap.

11.47: No word as yet on the gap back to the bunch. It’s pretty bright with blue patches in the sky. The roads are wide open and straight, so the break may well be visible to those behind.

11.48: There is also a gentle crosswind.

11.54: Still three leaders. Again, they are Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitzcycles), the KOM leader, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) and Adam Armstrong (Louth Asea Wheelworx).

Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue) and Aaron O’Brien (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles) continue behind and have been joined by Jeremy Durrin (Britain Neon Velo).

They are one minute 15 back, just five seconds ahead of the bunch.

11.55: Those three chasers have been caught, leaving just Morton, Feeley and Armstrong out front.

11.59: The bunch is gradually nibbling back on that lead. It’s down to 50 seconds now.

12.08: With the leaders passing the 50 kilometre point, the gap is now down to half a minute.

12.10: Driving through Kilcormac, the break is now just ten seconds ahead. It’s game over, surely.

12.13: Marc Potts (Britan Neon Velo) attacks and tries to get up to the three leaders.

12.14: No joy for Potts. He’s hauled back, as are the break. 55 kilometres done and it’s all together once more.

12.17: The lull has been disrupted by another attack. Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) and Timothy Mitchel (USA CCB Racing) jump clear and are quickly joined by national champion Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chainreaction).

12.19: Now two others try to get across: Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue) and Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) dig in, but the bunch isn’t allowing them go. They are reeled in.

12.21: So, still three leaders. The roads are wide but also with curves, so they will not be totally visible.

Dexter Gardias has been dropped by the break. Just Mitchel and Shaw ahead now. The gap is small, so this could come back.

12.22: It’s just 50 metres…

12.26: All back together.

12.29: It’s sunny and calm, in terms of wind. Waiting for the next action. They have covered 67 kilometres.

Now David McCarthy (Britain JTL Condor) clips away. He’s been joined by three others, namely Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform), Paul O’Reilly (Dublin UCD Fitzcycles) and Shane Kenny (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles). Conor Hennebry (Cork Aquablue) also joins.

They are heading into Birr.

12.32: All together again.

12.36: The roads are rolling and narrow, somewhat like the roads around Bohermeen. Could be good for another move.

12.45: Still nothing as yet…another lull. They’ve covered 79 kilometres, so still not halfway. Today’s route is 183.7 kilometres, so it’s a long day in the saddle.

12.52: Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitzcycles) jumps clear again. He’s persistent – has been on the go a few times again. Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) gets up to him.

They are 20 seconds clear.

12.55: It’s 36 seconds now. The bunch seems to be switching off, with many riders stopping to water the grass. That’s got to help the break.

13.01: The gap has soared all right.

Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue) is chasing, one minute 25 seconds behind. The peloton is two minutes and five seconds back. So this move is gone, and will now try to build a bigger advantage.

They have done 89 kilometres, so there is still 95-odd kilometres to go. A long, long way yet.

Morton and McCrystal will be hoping that others get up to them in order to make the long kilometres ahead a little more straightforward.

13.28: The duo have been working well together and have built a huge gap: currently seven minutes. That’s impressive….

13.32:It’s dropped very slightly to 6 minutes 45.

Cigala is still chasing alone. He’s two minutes behind the leaders.

13.43: The two leaders are on the climb, heading towards the summit.

13.47: Will McCrystal sprint, or will he let KOM leader Morton add more points and thus ensure his full cooperation afterwards? Morton will ride, of course, but he might feel aggrieved if McCrystal sprints. We’ll see.

He has points from yesterday, of course, so will lead the competition regardless.

13.48: Morton leads heading towards the prime line. They’ve gone over the top. We are a couple of cars behind them so couldn’t see them cross the prime line, but we think Morton was still on the front there. McCrystal takes over immediately afterwards.

13.54: Confirmation of that climb:

Category three climb at Shallee (km. 120.3):

1, Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitzcycles)
2, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)
3, Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue)
4, Michael Storer (Australia national team)

13.56: The bunch has split and the first part has caught Cigala.

14.05: The gap has dropped to five minutes with 134 kilometres covered. There’s approximately 50 kilometres left.

McCrystal is Irish duathlon champion so is well used to long efforts. He went close to a stage win last year but was caught close to the finish of day two.

14.16: The main field is now five minutes 17 seconds ahead of the yellow jersey group. There is another group one minute ten seconds further back.

It’s still calm here – no big winds. It’s also bone dry, and quite bright.

14.30: The two leaders, working hard to try to preserve their advantage.

14.42: The leaders are inside 25km to go…

14.44: The gap is now four minutes and seven seconds.

14.51: Inside the final 20 kilometres, there is a large group of 60 or so riders behind, chasing. The yellow jersey is in there. Further behind, another six are trying to get across to that group.

14.54: The gap now falls to two minutes 45 seconds with approximately 17 kilometres to go. They could hold them off yet… Let’s see.

14.56: Now two minutes 25 seconds…

14.58: McCrystal has attacked Morton, but Morton holds him.

Behind, the Australian national team are playing a big part in the pursuit.

Bryan McCrystal, digging in.


And here’s Eoin Morton..

15.02: The leading duo are now inside ten kilometres to go. They are doing really well to stave off the pursuit. This is a huge effort.

15.05: The gap is one minute 50 – looks very promising for them!

15.08: McCrystal started this morning 57th overall, 23 seconds back. As for Morton, he was 100th, at five minutes 13 seconds. So McCrystal would be the one to go into yellow, providing they finish sufficiently clear.

15.09: It’s still looking good – one minute 30 seconds left. They have six kilometres to go.

15.15: Inside the final two kilometres…still well clear…

There was a crash in the bunch. 40 seconds is the latest gap. Morton or McCrystal?

It’s Morton! He hits the line a couple of seconds ahead, taking a superb win.

Not sure McCrystal got the time he needed for yellow, but let’s wait and see. 

The crash was within the last three kilometres so any riders delayed will get the time of the others they were with. Still awaiting news on the yellow jersey destination.

15.32: Okay – no change to the yellow jersey, which remains with van der Hoorn. That’s a pity for McCrystal, who put in a massive effort today. 

15.44: McCrystal said the best man won and Morton was flying.

15.45:Here are the results:

We’ll leave it there for now as need to get interviews – thanks for reading! 

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